Parchment, Paper, Pixels: Law and the Technologies of Communication

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Overview

Technological revolutions have had an unquestionable, if still debatable, impact on culture and society—perhaps none more so than the written word. In the legal realm, the rise of literacy and print culture made possible the governing of large empires, the memorializing of private legal transactions, and the broad distribution of judicial precedents and legislation. Yet each of these technologies has its shadow side: written or printed texts easily become static and the textual practices of the legal profession can frustrate ordinary citizens, who may be bound by documents whose implications they scarcely understand.

Parchment, Paper, Pixels offers an engaging exploration of the impact of three technological revolutions on the law.  Beginning with the invention of writing, continuing with the mass production of identical copies of legal texts brought about by the printing press, and ending with a discussion of computers and the Internet, Peter M. Tiersma traces the journey of contracts, wills, statutes, judicial opinions, and other legal texts through the past and into the future.

Though the ultimate effects of modern technologies on our legal system remain to be seen, Parchment, Paper, Pixels offers readers an insightful guide as to how our shifting forms of technological literacy have shaped and continue to shape the practice of law today.

 

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Editorial Reviews

Edward Finegan
Tiersma’s historical perspective is invaluable, his analysis of the present eye-opening, and his recommendations for the future provocative. No one I know of is in a better position than he to analyze the topics treated in this volume and to explore their implications for the practice of law.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226803067
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 6/15/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 258
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter M. Tiersma is professor of law at Loyola Law School in California. He is the author of Legal Language and Frisian Reference Grammar and coauthor of Speaking of Crime: The Language of Criminal Justice.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

1 Introduction 1

2 Speech, Writing, and Text 13

3 Wills 49

4 Contracts 83

5 Statutes 133

6 Judicial Opinions and the Concept of Precedent 177

7 Conclusion 221

Notes 227

Index 251

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